New York Giants signed former Packers and Eagles DT Cullen Jenkins to a three year-$8 Million deal. Photo courtesy of AP
Late last night the New York Giants came to terms with veteran Cullen Jenkins, formerly of the Philadelphia Eagles. This was an extremely important move for three reasons.
First, the team needed to bulk up in their interior defense in order to help their run defense. They did so. Jenkins is a 300 lbs run-stopping beast. Secondly, the Giants needed to replace veteran Chris Canty with another veteran.
The Defensive Tackle position is one that comes with a lot of pressure. They only really get noticed when they don't play well. This is not a position the Giants needed to hand over to a recent draft choice but rather an established veteran that understands the schemes that the team is running.
Finally, they needed to replace Canty and bulk up their run defense with a cheaper option. Canty was owed another $6.25 Million this season and had two more years on his contract. They were paying a lot for his presence there.
With the team only reportedly $10 Million under the salary cap, and several players still to re-sign, they had to save money and replace Canty at the same time. For a three year-$8 Million deal with only $3 Million guaranteed, they were able to do all of this.
Is this a sign of the team being major players in free agency tomorrow though? No. GM Jerry Reese has a track record of signing one or two veterans per off season but retaining several of his own free agents as a priority.
Names like Keith Rivers, Chris Canty and Kawika Mitchell are all example of this. Yet, for every one of those signed, the Giants have at least a dozen names like Zak DeOssie and Chase Blackburn that don't make the headlines but build a successful team. This is most likely going to be the trend once again.
The fact is the Giants need to re-sign more than two dozen of their own free agents and have very little salary cap room to do so. We should expect the opposite of a free agent spending frenzy. The Giants need to restructure a few more veteran contracts in order to make enough room to keep all the names that make this team so good.
Players like Victor Cruz, Hakeem Nicks, Kenny Phillips, Martellus Bennett and Stevie Brown are all important players to the Giants and are higher priorities than making a big splash in free agency. Instead, as in years passed, Reese will utilize the draft to fill out the remaining roster.
The signing of Cullen Jenkins was important for the team, but it is not a sign of things to come. Rather it is a sign that the Giants are following their blueprint for success.